With Earth Day on April 22, Pollstar returns with its annual issue celebrating the planet. The music industry has a large impact on the planet, with touring and the live industry causing potential harm to the environment. But fans listen to their favorite artists, and the industry is also leading the charge for change.
Pollstar‘s Earth Day issue highlights how live can support the future of our blue planet. From recycling old t-shirts to decarbonizing production, industry leaders are showing attainable goals that promise us a better future.
By Lauren Sullivan & Adam Gardner
With all of the doom and gloom surrounding the climate crisis in recent years, many people are understandably feeling helpless, anxious or just plain numb. And last month’s report from the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) emphasized the harsh reality we are facing if we continue to do business as usual.
Yet despite recent news and the slow pace of climate progress from governments and corporations, we truly feel a sense of hope. Why? Because while the science is clear that we’re heading down a disastrous path for people and the planet, it is also unequivocal in showing that IF we take immediate, serious action, there is still a real opportunity to create a future that avoids the worst impacts of the climate crisis. We believe music can lead this fight for our future.
By Ariel King
ASM Global aims to become carbon neutral by 2050. Live Nation plans to have all their events become zero waste by 2030. Oak View Group (Pollstar’s parent company) continues to hit their goals in reducing its carbon emissions.
Using a plethora of resources was oftentimes considered necessary to run a live show. From massive amounts of travel by fans and artists to merch and non-recyclable concessions, live music’s impact on the environment could oftentimes be harmful. With the climate clock ticking and the impacts of climate change already upon us, organizations are working toward completely changing the ways in which they operate to minimize their impact.
By Sarah Pittman
For more than three decades Michael Martin has led efforts to raise awareness of environmental issues and make the music industry more sustainable including his work with the non-profit Concerts for the Environment and producing multiple nationally broadcast Earth Day events.
Back in the 1980s he was an investment banker on Wall Street – and then the Exxon Valdez oil spill happened. He explains, “I’m a capitalist but I felt like business should be doing good things for the health of the people and the planet. Not bad things. So, I left investment banking.”
He’s worked with artists including U2, Roger Waters, Jack Johnson and The Rolling Stones, as well as developing sustainability/marketing strategies for brands including Live Nation, AEG, Toyota, UPS, Target, Clif Bar, and Apple.
Martin serves as the founder and CEO of Effect Partners, an organization that works with musicians and brands for climate and social justice causes, and r.Cup, the first national reusable platform of its kind.
By Oscar Areliz
There are a number of contributing factors and inspirations to a cultural movement, and a prominent one tends to be found in the form of art — music, especially. The composition, words and sounds have a way of sparking something in people, whether it’s an idea, emotion or a sudden urge to dance. It is one of the most influential mediums around, especially in a live setting, and musician/activist Adam Gardner hopes music can be the driving force for change on one issue that affects everyone on this planet.
“It’s hard to read the news about the climate crisis,” Gardner, frontman for the band Guster, tells Pollstar. “… I think music has an opportunity [to inspire change] because there is a willingness now to probably move faster than our government and help in some ways.”
By Ariel King
Maggie Baird was an early adapter. Her father, a hunter, inadvertently introduced her and her brothers to the relationship between meat and animals at an early age, inspiring them all to become vegetarians. Baird, the founder of the nonprofit Support+Feed and the mother of Billie Eilish and FINNEAS, initially gave up meat around 1976 for the animals. A few years later she stumbled upon an infographic on how much of the Amazon rainforest has been decimated for each McDonald’s hamburger.
“I also had the book ‘Diet for a Small Planet,’ and so those were the places where I made the connection between animal agriculture and the environment, which of course led to climate change,” Baird told Pollstar. “In 1981, we knew already. We knew what was going to happen. We just didn’t do enough to change it.”
By Music Sustainability Association
The Music Sustainability Association (MSA) operates under the core belief that working together across all sectors creates the kind of systemic change needed to propel the music industry toward a sustainable future. As the music industry’s green association, the MSA provides scalable, accessible solutions, starting with our resource guide, an aggregation of tools, service providers and vendors that support sustainability goals.
The list is extensive and continues to expand – a living document tended with time and energy by a growing coalition. The MSA sends out a regular newsletter with news, facts and information about sustainability, connecting the industry’s sustainability leaders. Please sign up for the newsletter at MusicSustainability.org
By Andy Gensler
Leiber-Stoller, King-Goffin, Lennon-McCartney, Bob Dylan and Prince Rogers Nelson are among the greatest songwriters of all time. Perhaps soon a new name will be added to that pantheon: The Earth. It’s a distinct possibility if a new and wildly creative initiative by EarthPercent, an environmental foundation founded by Brian Eno, is successful.
“The Earth as Your Co-writer is a beautiful idea in which we harness the poetic construct of The Earth as a co-writer of music and direct some of the income from our compositions towards tackling the climate emergency,” said Eno, the legendary musician, producer and outside-the-box thinker, in a statement. The organization raises funds from within the music industry and redistributes them to organizations working to end the scourge of climate change. His statement continued: “EarthPercent provides an easy way for the music industry to make a difference by asking artists to commit a small percentage of their songwriting revenue. All musicians are inspired by the precious planet we live on, so it’s fitting that we are now able to name The Earth as our co-writer.”
By Debbie Speer
Stephanie Choi, co-founder of upcycling company Rewilder, grew up in China and remembers playing in piles of discarded fabric when her parents were garment manufacturers.
“I grew up playing in piles of rags that were discarded, and that burned an image in my head of this mountain of stuff that would eventually disappear, and wondering where that would go?”
Choi, a first-generation Chinese American, turned that memory into a career in zero-waste design and advises some of the world’s biggest brands with her background in science, research, marketing and storytelling. Among her company’s clients are Cali Vibes, the roots and reggae festival at Marina Green Park in Long Beach, California, and the Hollywood Bowl in Los Angeles.
Along with business partner Jennifer Silbert, a sustainable design entrepreneur who has a self-described “passion for Dumpster diving,” the pair founded Rewilder, a company whose mission is to “make upcycling scalable” by partnering with industrial companies and others to identify, divert and upcycle waste materials “worthy of a second life.”
By J.R. Lind
From the afternoon of March 31 into the early evening of April 1, the National Weather Service confirmed 132 tornadoes touched down in a band stretching from eastern Texas well into the Northeast.
These megastorms are occurring all too frequently. Indeed, this two-day outbreak followed directly on the heels of a four-day, 31-tornado outbreak across the South.
The latter outbreak was caused by an extratropical cyclone in Nebraska. Without getting too far into the meteorological weeds, that’s a sort-of pseudo-hurricane. In Nebraska. One twister it spawned touched down in Delaware, the strongest tornado in the state since at least 1950. The same storm dumped feet of snow in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.